Tino Hernandez, a recent graduate mathematics major, got in line for Nothing Phone’s first pop-up at 9 a.m. in the US, 10 hours before it opened.
The current OnePlus 8T user was not here for the company’s new release named Phone (2). He is only here to show his support.
“This is the first US launch for Nothing. I wanted to see the product for myself,” says Hernandez. “Seeing a new design, new everything, new language, new community, new support and everything feels fresh. It feels like the excitement of new technology in the world.”
Carl Pei, the co-founder of OnePlus, has set nothing but making quality phones with great features at affordable prices. Pay Nothing launched in London in 2020 with big ambitions for the future of technology and design, and in 2022 he launched the Nothing Phone (1) in Europe and Asia.
On July 13, for the phone’s (2) US debut, Pei was inside a red bubble-shaped pop-up kiosk in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where he greeted customers, checked receipts and took orders. He spoke to many of them in English and Mandarin, shook hands, took selfies and autographed their packages upon request.
Featuring a new “Glyph interface” on the back, the phone (2) aims to help users minimize screen interactions by accessing key information at a glance. For example, if you’re ordering an Uber, you can set the interface to act as a progress tracker, allowing you to watch the lights on the back of the phone count down to monitor the driver’s arrival. Look at the screen ahead.
“Sometimes when I unlock my phone, I fall into social media apps,” Pay says at the pop-up event. “So I think there are a lot of people like me. How do we get them to open up the screen a little bit more?”
Glyph lights have been adopted by on-site customers. “Innovations tend to be seen as gimmicks when something innovative is launched,” says Rushna Quddus, Ph.D. student in chemistry at New York University. “The reason I don’t see it as a gimmick is, ‘What’s behind the phone? Why are we leaving it unused?’
The Android-powered phone has a 6.7-inch screen—about the same as the iPhone 14 Pro Max—and up to 512 gigabytes of storage. Aside from the rear lights, the biggest difference between a Nothing phone (2) and other Android models is Nothing OS 2.0, the Android 13-based software that lets users customize everything from app labels and grid design to widget size. and color themes.
Henry Tom, a user-experience designer working at a Wall Street bank, decided to sell his iPhone 14 Pro Max after buying a white phone (2) at a pop-up. “A lot of people don’t talk about vision, but I believe in their vision of what makes phones exciting,” he says. “That’s something that’s really missing in this industry right now.”
Pay says that’s the point. “We are targeting young, creative people. If we look at our users, they are very interested in new technology and interested in design,” he says. He appeared in a vlog-style debut video with YouTuber Casey Neistat for its worldwide premiere on July 11.
“If you look at Apple and Samsung, they already have a great business model,” Pei says. “They’re making a lot of money. They know who their customers are. So why take a big risk on the product side? I think this is the first time in years that a small team with big ambitions has been able to do this. Chart a slightly different course than what the smartphone industry and consumer technology as a whole could go.”
The phone (2) starts at $599 and has full-band support for AT&T and T-Mobile, and what Nothing calls “limited support” for Verizon. In the US, the phones are only available for purchase on the Nothing site.